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The Rt. Hon. Tony Blair PC MP
The Prime Minister
10 Downing Street
London SW1 2 December 1997

Dear Prime Minister,

I write in peace but on a thorny issue. As the attached letter explains, your government has inherited what may well emerge as a difficult health problem, which appears to involve a serious failure by the medicines control authorities. This issue could develop also as a sharp test of this government's resolve to be fair and open in its dealings with the public. Not least because I heard you speak at the 1996 awards ceremony of the Campaign for Freedom of Information, I appreciate how important this is to you.

If the problem proves as serious as I believe, the temptation for officials might be to think in terms of traditional remedies, but as you yourself have emphasised, there are better and more honourable ways of proceeding. The attached letter to the Secretary for Health briefly underlines this and explains why it would seem preferable in this case to acknowledge evidence of a possible problem and indicate a commitment to address underlying causes.

I am sure Mr. Dobson would welcome your support in taking what, at first sight, might appear the more difficult course. In the longer term, however, this has to be the best way forward - and I believe that it is open to your government to emerge from this potentially difficult situation with real credit. I very much hope it turns out that way.

Yours sincerely,

Charles Medawar





From the Private Secretary 5 December 1997


Dear Mr Medawar

I am writing on behalf of the Prime Minister to thank you for your letter of 2 December.

This is receiving attention and a reply will be sent to you as soon as possible

Yours sincerely,


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